Elizabeth Stockton’s passion for painting was instilled at an early age. And she came by much of her talent naturally. “My father was in advertising, but he was a great fine artist too,” Stockton says. “I grew up in his art studio. Sometimes it was at the house and sometimes he had one somewhere else—on 17th Street or Buckhead or wherever. But he and my mother were both very encouraging about my love of art.”
It took a while to convince Stockton that her avocation could become a career. “When I was at the University of Georgia, I had to take a lot of fine art classes even though I was a graphic design major,” she recalls. “So I took a painting class. I had about 10 or 12 paintings when the quarter was over and I set them up in the sunroom of our house. My father came in and said, ‘Wow! Are you sure you don’t want to change your major to painting?’
Stockton’s response, at the time, was definitive. “I said, ‘No way! I don’t want to starve to death!’ I’d forgotten about that conversation until one day—after I’d been painting about a year or so—it just flooded back in my memory.”
But it was another man in Stockton’s life—her husband, Manley—who gave the artist the push she needed to further pursue her talent. “I was an art director at the time; the kids were younger and I was on autopilot all the time,” she says. “My husband bought me some canvases and brushes and paint—it was for Christmas or my birthday—and I remember sarcastically thinking, ‘This is great. Now I’m going to paint and get the kids to school and take care of the agency as well as the house.” But I knew it was going to hurt his feelings if I didn’t use them. So I pulled them out one day, set up an easel in the dining room, threw down a drop cloth and that was it. It was just bliss.”
That was 10 years ago, and Stockton hasn’t looked back. Working in her home studio, the artist always has a dozen or more oil-on-canvas pieces going at a time. “I never just start a painting and finish it,” she points out. “It’s all about layers. They’re in various stages all the time.”
Though she works in both representative and ethereal styles, Stockton’s paintings are particularly noteworthy for the emotions that they evoke. “I never put any man-made objects in my paintings,” she says. “I want them to convey a feeling of peace. Quiet. Tranquility.” In short, she wants the viewer to feel the same bliss that she has found.